‘Call me Dave’ has had a dream which he shared with me. It was when we were walking through the sunlit uplands of his unexpected election victory waving the Union Jack.
At this point he thought he was running a government committed to equality, being for the workers, tackling poverty and social inequality. The Mad Hatter poured tea for Dave and Elvis who had by now arrived at Tory conference.
And then I heard the speech.
In his address to the Tory faithful, Cameron set out a whole range of objectives which would mean him abandoning and reversing most of the policies he is actually pursuing. It is the worst kind of dishonest politics, which he topped with a scurrilous and personal attack on Jeremy Corbyn.
This was only days after Tory ministers were lining up to claim no such attacks on Corbyn would be made. That promise was abandoned even quicker than some of the Tory manifesto promises.
There is now a widening gulf between what Dave is saying and what he is doing. Take defence spending, for example.
Under current budget plans, the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates military cuts of another 18 per cent (in real terms) by 2020. That’s on top of the 10 per cent that have already taken place, with Osborne reported to be demanding more.
Even the US military have complained about the impact those cuts will have. And the Tories have also started to fiddle the military spending figures by starting to count other spending as military spending.
‘Call me Dave’ is well and truly down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass on this one.
On housing he’s with George the builder. After presiding over an increasing housing crisis for five years his great plan is to publicly subsidise private housing sales.
These are on houses costing up to £450,000 for which you would need a deposit of £100,000 and a salary of £70,000 to pay the mortgage. How this helps most families, only the Mad Hatter knows – and he’s not told Dave yet.
To top it all, building social housing– affordable for rent – is being abandoned. What remains is being offered up as right to buy, diminishing social housing stocks even further.
Never mind Dave listening to 1980s band Supertramp, he’s back to Thatcher’s greatest hits of the 80s. Maybe Supertramp’s Crime of the Century is a more appropriate title as many of the council homes sold are now in the hands of buy-to-let landlords.
Tackling poverty? In the last five years nearly half a million more children fell into levels of absolute poverty. The Resolution Foundation – headed by a Tory – estimates the last budget will send another 200,000 people into poverty.
The tax credit cuts? Those are the ones Dave promised during the election campaign would not be touched.
The IFS estimates that most people getting these in-work benefits – the workers – will be worse off by between £1,000 and £1,700 a year. Even the rise in what Dave and George call the Living Wage (it isn’t) won’t change that.
Jeremy Hunt though let the mask slip and said the tax credit cut would help us adjust to living and working like the Chinese. What did he mean? Under a one party state, falling asleep in the factory, getting low wages and few rights?
He also suggested working as they do in Asia. Like in a sweat shop factory, perhaps, with no fire safety that can burn down with the loss of hundreds of lives?
And the treatment of the sick and disabled by Iain Duncan Smith’s department? Where thousands have died while trying to claim benefits – including those near death who have been categorised as fit for work?
Inequality is rife and made worse by cuts in services which hit the poorest areas worse. Public services are on their knees while awaiting even further cuts this autumn.
Earning a decent wage? Not when Dave is keeping up the worse attack on public sector pay ever seen?
Our society is becoming more polarised between the have and have nots. Employment is the same, there is a rapidly reducing number of ‘middle earners’ with more of us being placed in the lower wage part of the workforce.
There is no turnaround. It’s an illusion created by the Tories looking one way while going in the opposite direction.
Its down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass politics. Delusional, and only understood by the Mad Hatter.
And in Manchester, Elvis has now left the Tory party conference, heading back to his double decker bus converted into a flat. On the moon.